U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Continues Fight for Wisconsin Shipyards

Supports Program to Help Wisconsin Fleets & Shipyard Economies Stay Afloat

By - Apr 8th, 2015 10:49 am

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin continued her advocacy for Wisconsin’s small shipyards with a bipartisan call for funding of the Small Shipyard Grant Program. In a letter joined by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to U.S. Senate appropriators, Senator Baldwin urged for funding for the grant program that helps small shipyards increase efficiency and capacity for shipping products made in America.

“This important program helps to modernize America’s small shipyards and repair facilities, while spurring American manufacturing. Small shipyards on U.S. coasts and inland waterways are often considered the lifeblood of the maritime community,” the senators wrote. “Funding this program is a win for America’s small shipyards, equipment manufacturers, the workboat fleet, and jobs in all of these industries.”

In Wisconsin and across America, small shipyards keep the workboat fleet of more than 40,000 commercial vessels well-maintained, ensuring maritime transport remains one of the safest, most energy-efficient forms of transportation for passengers and made in America products. Small shipyards also build and maintain vessels critical to the maritime transportation safety, including Coast Guard ships, dredges, icebreakers, research vessels, military vessels, and fire and rescue boats. Competitive shipyard services can ensure that local shipyard economies can continue to stay afloat.

“I applaud the Senator’s efforts to restore funding for this important federal program,” said Erich Pfeifer, President & COO, Marine Travelift, Inc. of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. “All of our employees are proud of our industry-leading Wisconsin-built equipment and their role in modernizing America’s shipyards,”

“The small shipyard grant program enables businesses like Fraser Shipyards, Inc. to proceed with capital improvements to modernize equipment and processes that can make us more efficient and competitive,” said Tom Curelli, Director of Operations, Fraser Shipyards, Inc. of Superior, Wisconsin. “There are many facets of sustaining a shipyard business that are challenging. The small shipyard grant program helps small shipyards maintain capacity, diversity and competitive pricing.”

Senator Baldwin has been a strong advocate for Wisconsin shipyards and our Made in Wisconsin economy. In January, Senator Baldwin opposed a pending amendment that could endanger U.S. shipbuilding jobs and outsource to foreign countries work currently being done by American workers. The amendment would repeal the Jones Act requirement that goods shipped between U.S. ports be carried by only American-made, owned and operated ships. Senator Baldwin has also visited multiple shipyards and marine manufactures in Wisconsin, including Marinette Marine, Marine Travelift and Fraser Shipyards.

Wisconsin businesses have previously been awarded Small Shipyard Grants, but the program has not been funded since 2013. Marinette Marine, Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Fraser Shipyards and Liquid Waste Technology of New Richmond have received grants for cranes or equipment used for transporting or welding.

An online version of the letter is available here.

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